authors favorite books

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Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy. I read it last year for the first time and, wow, is it ever great. Maybe the darkest and truest and most terrifying book I’ve ever read. It takes a particular view of life on earth that we normally flinch from. It looks at the world from the point of view of those who are truly crapped upon—the poor, the criminal, the insane—and then it walks alongside those people in an absolutely unflinching way. Gradually, as a reader, you start to say: Yikes, yes, Leo, you are right. You are a fanatic and unsubtle, but you are right, and are doing so in service of a great truth: This world is intolerably cruel to the weak. And that realization gets under your skin and stays there. It’s kind of like walking by a crazy ranting person on the street, and you pause—and suddenly you see that, though the method of delivery is rough and refuses to play by the rules of polite discourse, what the person is saying is right on the money. And the truths he tells—about the legal system, the prison system, about the actual process of trying to intervene and do good—still absolutely hold, and maybe more so.”
George Saunders, author of The Tenth of December